Plot Analysis For

“Animal Farm” By George Orwell Essay, Research Paper

* Sorry about the spacing on this one, folks, but I got a kick-ass grade on this part, look for more “Animal Farm” stuff from me!


The Setting…

The book Animal Farm, by George Orwell, takes place on a farm in England

during the time in which it was written, the 1940 s. The purpose of this setting is to

give the world a simple example of how any type of government can fail, anywhere,

anytime. The Manor Farm is run by Mister Jones, who is in a drunken stupor at this

point in the novel due to the loss of a large lawsuit. When Mister Jones retires for the

evening, all of the animals on the farm gather in the big barn for a meeting called

upon by the eldest prized pig, old Major as he was called, to discuss a secret matter.

Old Major tells the animals of a secret plan, many years in the making yet without

action. The plan is for an overthrow of man by the animals. Old Major explains to the

animals that rebellion is the only way to escape their sorrowful, meaningless lives in

order to live free and rich. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from

the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever (Orwell

6). Because there are so many characters who come to life in Orwell s book, the

animals (as a societal whole) represent the protagonist, attempting to overcome their

unfair treatment received from the humans, and escape the knife that kills them at

the end of their lives. Mister Jones and the human race (as a societal whole, as well)

plays the antagonist in the novel, mistreating the animals and bringing the animals

feelings of hatred toward Man upon themselves.

Napoleon (main character #1)…

One of the main characters in the story is old Major s successor, Napoleon, a

fellow pig. The pigs are viewed as smarter, thus the most important animals on the

farm. Napoleon deceives the animals into trusting him, and in the end, loses all that

is gained by becoming too greedy. After the death of old Major, the former devoted,

likable and successful leader, the pre-eminent two young boars, Snowball and

Napoleon lead the society of animals to continue old Major s proposed rebellion

against Man. After the attack on Mister Jones, Snowball and Napoleon begin to

teach the animals how things will be run from that time forward. The only thing the

pigs do not realize is the fact that they disagree on everything. Shortly after the

animals reclaiming of Manor Farm (which was soon renamed Animal Farm ), two

dogs, Jessie and Bluebell gave birth to nine puppies. Taking no interest in Snowball s

committees, Napoleon took the puppies away from their mothers saying that he

would make himself responsible for their education. He took them up into a loft

which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them

in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence (Orwell 41).

When the humans, led by Mister Jones, come back to Animal Farm in an attempt to

recapture it, the animals beat out the humans with a totally unplanned attack. At a

regular Sunday meeting some time after the animals victory, Snowball argued with

Napoleon for the last time, and when he sat down, Napoleon stood up, cast Snowball

a sidelong glance, and let out a high-pitched whimper of a nature that none of the

animals had ever heard before. Immediately after his noise, the nine puppies, now

enormous dogs came bounding into the barn and went straight for Snowball. While

everyone trusted Napoleon to properly educate the puppies, he was secretly training

them to chase Snowball off the farm, so that Napoleon would be the only one in

charge. Throughout the next few years, Napoleon ruled Animal Farm, and whenever

something went wrong, he would say that Snowball had come back during the night

and done it. In the end of the story, after many hardships and many long years of

hard work and starvation, Napoleon and some other pigs appear, walking on their

hind legs as men. The farm is in total shock at the mere sight of this because

Commandment number one of seven, by which the animals lived was, Whatever

goes upon two legs is an enemy. That night, Napoleon, against all that the animals

believed in, invited some fellow pigs and some human friends over for a formal

evening at the Animal Farm (renamed back to The Manor Farm ). The rest of the

animals gathered around a window to watch and see what was going on. The pigs

and men were getting along like old life-long friends, but something was amiss. But

they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was

coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window

again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the

table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared

to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades

simultaneously. Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No

question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside

looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already

it was impossible to say which was which (Orwell 156-157). This quote describes

the last scene in the novel, in which the inevitable happens to the proclaimed

animalistic society — the trustworthy leader loses all the animals had gained in a

flaunt of greed.

Boxer (main character #2)…

By following Boxer s actions as well as the other animals, one sees that no

matter what is put into the farm by an individual, no one escapes death in the end.

Boxer is a huge, muscular horse in the story who does nothing other than what he is

told. The result of Boxer s hard work is a long, healthy life, but perhaps too much

work, for shortly before his retirement, he works himself to the point of

over-exhaustion. Boxer hauls a large amount of stone for the windmill the animals

build, and while the other animals sleep, Boxer goes out to accumulate some more

stone. When rumor spreads to the animals that something has happened to Boxer,

the animals rush to the knoll where the windmill stood. It is my lung, said Boxer in

a weak voice. It does not matter. I think you will be able to finish the windmill

without me. There is a pretty good store of stone accumulated. I had only another

month to go in any case (Orwell 132). Although Boxer lived his life by two maxims,

Long live Napoleon! and I will work harder (the latter being the more important in

this case), death still came to Boxer, just as it had with many other animals on the

farm, and many more to come.

The Plot Mountain of Animal Farm

1. Exposition

The story begins on a farm in England during the 1940 s called the Manor

Farm. The old, wise pig, appropriately named old Major, calls a meeting with the

animals after their unfair master, Mister Jones, has retired for the evening. The

animals represent the protagonist, and Jones represents the antagonist. Now,

comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it, our lives are

miserable, laborious and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will

keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to

work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has

come to and end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty (Orwell 3). The animals

speak of a rebellion from the ownership of Mister Jones so they can be free to roam

all day and not have to work for the scraps of food they receive only when Mr Jones is

sober enough to feed them, and thus the story begins.

2. Narrative Hook

The manner in which old Major speaks is more than enough to pull the reader

in, as he speaks of a rebellion from their master. Shortly after the called meeting, old

Major dies peacefully in his sleep, and the animals talk about how great their life

could be without humans to harshly rule over them. One day, the animals drive

Mister and Misses Jones away from the farm in a totally unplanned attack. One of

the cows broke in the door of the store-shed with her horn and all the animals began

to help themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr Jones woke up. The next

moment he and his four men were in the store-shed with whips in their hands,

lashing out in all directions. This was more than the hungry animals could bear. With

one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung

themselves upon their tormentors (Orwell 18). It was none other than mayhem from

that moment until the humans had fled the farm in horror and Manor Farm belonged

to the animals.

3. Rising Action

The rising action occurs over a long period full of action throughout the book.

One example of the action was the ostracizing of Snowball the pig by Napoleon,

another pig who is Snowball s opposite. Napoleon secretly trained nine puppies from

birth to attack Snowball at a squeal Napoleon made, and Napoleon did this at one of

the animals meetings. Then the animals build a windmill which is destroyed twice:

once by Snowball, the ostracized pig; and once by the humans by means of

explosives. Terrified, the animals waited. It was impossible not to venture out of the

shelter of the buildings. After a few minutes the men were seen to be running in all

directions. Then there was a deafening roar. The pigeons swirled into the air, and all

the animals, except Napoleon, flung themselves flat on their bellies and hid their

faces. When they got up again a huge cloud of black smoke was hanging where the

windmill had been. Slowly the breeze drifted it away. The windmill had ceased to

exist! (Orwell 115).

4. Climax

It was Clover s voice. She neighed again, and all the animals broke into a

gallop and rushed into the yard. Then they saw what Clover had seen. It was a pig

walking on his hind legs. Yes, it was Squealer… He carried a whip in his trotter… all

the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of – Four legs good, two legs better!

Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! … There was nothing

there now except a single Commandment. It ran: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT

SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS (Orwell 144-149). In this scene,

the pigs take one final step in making themselves the equivalent of man, and

breaking many Commandments at once. The pigs are at the point in which they are

most human (other than in the end, when they literally become humans), and even

erase all Seven Commandments of the Animal Farm (written on the side of the barn)

and make the one final, contradictory Commandment.

5. Falling Action

The falling action of the story comes when the pigs humanize themselves by

buying objects that only humans owned, pushing themselves over the edge toward

mankind. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had bought themselves a

wireless set, were arranging to install a telephone, and had taken out subscriptions

to John Bull, Tit-Bits and the Daily Mirror. It did not seem strange when Napoleon

was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe in his mouth – no, not even

when the pigs took Mr Jones s clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on (Orwell

150). The pigs are taking on more human characteristics than any of the animals

had even imagined, and began to realize they were right back where they started.

6. Denouement (Resolution)

The resolution occurs when the man-pigs invite over some old enemies (now

friends) humans for a formal occasion, and take the final step to becoming man and

abandoning everything they worked so hard for — the inevitable — comes forth.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now,

what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig

to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was

impossible to say which was which (Orwell 157). Yes, the pigs had become human,

and they were right back where they had started! Animal Farm, as it was renamed,

was known as The Manor Farm once again, and the rest of the animals were under

the same rule as when Mr Jones was in charge.

The Theme of Animal Farm…

After reading the book, Animal Farm, and many pages of literary review, I have

come to the conclusion that the underlying theme of the story is the inevitable failure

of the egalitarian ideals that first encourage revolt against an established order.

When the animals of Manor Farm first take over the farm, it is obvious that their only

reason for doing so was to be their own masters and frolic freely all day long, not

realizing that they would have to work hard in order to have food to stay alive. After

establishing social order (which, ironically, there was to be none of at the beginning)

and unsuccessful methods of harvesting the crop. The animals are constantly

hungry, so some of them turn to alternative food sources. Then a goose came

forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn during the last year s

harvest and eaten them in the night (Orwell 100). Another fault of the animals plan

to take over the farm is the unexpected greed that arises. The animals paint up their

own seven commandments (unalterable law by which all the animals had to live by

forever) on the side of the barn, but did not expect that greed would help make the

commandments alterable. The Fourth Commandment of the animals was: No

animal shall sleep in a bed. When the leaders of the animals are discovered to be

sleeping in beds in the old farmhouse, some questions arise. The next morning, the

commandment reads something different. Muriel, she said, read me the Fourth

Commandment. Does it not say something about never sleeping in a bed? With

some difficulty Muriel spelt it out. It says, No animal shall sleep in a bed with

sheets , she announced finally. Curiously enough, Clover had not remembered that

the Fourth Commandment mentioned sheets; but as it was there on the wall, it must

have done so (Orwell 77-79). This occurs two more times when the pigs are

discovered to be breaking the rules, showing their excessive greed and improper hold

over the other animals. The manner in which the pigs acted shows the way the

inevitable results of attempting to change a whole society can be costly, as the pigs

and the other animals found out when the pigs and men were discovered to be the

same creature in the end.

Relevant or Memorable Quotes from Animal Farm

Quote #1…

The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by

Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr Jones s especial pet, was a spy and a

tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a

mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they

died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds,

Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was

in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.

The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them

believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs hod to argue very hard to persuade

them that there was no such place (Orwell 16).

In this quote, George Orwell describes yet another character, Mr Jones s

tamed raven, Moses. The bird fills the other animals minds with visions of a better

place in the sky to which the go when they die to keep them from fearing death so

greatly. This is one way, besides the animals take over of the farm (making them

able to live freely ), that the animals keep pushing along and working so hard. This

quote contains the line The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no

work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain… (Orwell 16). This quote

represents me because I am unsure of my belief in heaven. Some days I tell myself,

There is no such place, and other days I tell myself, Gee, maybe there is. I guess

I just do not know which way to go on this subject, making this quote relevant to

myself. Also, the excerpt from the above quote reminds me of the times in which we

live today, where some make their profession out of such beliefs and some do not

believe in any part of it.

Quote #2…

You would no have us too tired to carry out our duties? Surely none of you

wishes to see Jones back? (Orwell 79).

In this quote, Squealer, who spoke to the fellow animals on behalf of his

adviser, Napoleon, is telling the animals the reasoning of why the pigs were sleeping

in the beds in the old farmhouse, thus violating the Fourth Commandment of Animal

Farm. Indeed, one of the pigs had sneaked out during the night while the others

were asleep and updated the Commandment once they had learned the other

animals had figured out that the pigs were breaking the law, making it legal for

them to sleep in beds. Squealer again uses the excuse Surely none of you wishes to

see Jones back? to cover for their misbehavior. This reasoning is used time and

time again throughout the novel to keep the animals from overthrowing their leader.

The part, Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back? reminds me of how I

become perhaps overly happy when a teacher is absent in one of my most difficult,

boring classes. It makes me think of why the class behaves so well when the teacher

is gone: so the teacher will trust his or her class enough to take an extra day of leave,

leaving the students with another free day. In terms of modern times, this quote is

relevant to President Bill Clinton. Although they are two totally different subjects,

President Clinton uses the excuse of oral sex not being real sex in an attempt to

cover for his misbehavior.

Quote #3…

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question,

now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from

pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was

impossible to say which was which (Orwell 157).

This is the last paragraph of the book, and to me, it is definitely the most

memorable. In this scene, the pigs, now more human than ever, invite some human

friends over for a formal dinner, but things get out of hand when they are playing

cards and Napoleon and one of the men, Mr Pilkington each play the ace of spades

simultaneously. This quote meant the most to me because it was so

thought-provokingly witty, and gave me more ideas for when I am writing. I am

always looking for remarkable quotes while I am reading to build on and use in future

writings. This, along with one form The Red Badge of Courage top my list. The quote

from The Red Badge of Courage was, the silence was deafening (unknown). The

quote from Animal Farm, and from The Red Badge of Courage, will forever be etched

in my memory bank as one to refer to for creativity and professionalism. As far as

modern times go, what the quote from Animal Farm is most symbolic of the recent

World Trade Organization protests, in which all people who protested let themselves

get out of control and become one massive band of angry rioters.


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